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#46689 - 12/12/04 11:51 PM toos & Xmas trees  
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hhanse57 Offline
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Christmas this year will be challenging. I let my U2 out, went into the kitchen to get my tea, and by the time I came back into the room he had got down, silently crossed the room and chewed 3 lights off the unplugged Xmas tree. Thank God it was unplugged. None of my other birds ever get down off their cages so we've never dealt with a wanderer before. It continually amazes me how I have to try to think ahead with him just like when my kids were young. And to think I was more worried about the dogs tearing or knocking it over.

#46690 - 12/13/04 12:09 AM Re: toos & Xmas trees  
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Michael Offline
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You should consider replacing the outlet that the Christmas tree lights are plugged into with a GFCI (Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter). This will cause the outlet to switch off if a bird (or other animal) bites into the electric cord. I have GFCI outlets in our bird room.

#46691 - 12/13/04 12:11 AM Re: toos & Xmas trees  
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HAHAHA! That's why we now decorate a small Norflok Pine that our Too is used to. If they aren't afraid of it, they can't resist it! <img border="0" alt="[laughing]" title="" src="graemlins/laugh[1].gif" />

#46692 - 12/13/04 01:03 PM Re: toos & Xmas trees  
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Marv Offline
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Michael !!!! do not rely on GFCI to save chewing animals lives they are designed to detect ground fault not direct shorts that can becaused from chewing animal a light bulb is a direct short or it wouldnt light up so when and animal chews a cord it is acting like a light bulb if it chews thru -Marv

#46693 - 12/13/04 10:14 PM Re: toos & Xmas trees  
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jules Offline
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I debated this year of doing a "Charlie Brown
Christmas Tree". Y'know, the one with three or
four bare branches & two dorky ornaments...think
they'd leave THAT alone?!?
There are two cord-seeking birds here, and I swear
it's all I can do to hide or protect the cords
from them. Thanks for the safety reminder hhanse.

#46694 - 12/13/04 11:28 PM Re: toos & Xmas trees  
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Although my Too and my Alex are pretty good about leaving the tree alone, my Jenday feels the need to trim the ends off of any and all branches and to pull the lights out of the sockets. He also loves yanking off the ornaments and sending them crashing to the floor. It's definitely a test of my patience.

This year, after only a few days of having our live tree up, I took it outside and there it will stay as a decoration on our front patio. I decided that the only way to keep all my birds out of trouble, and save my sanity was to get something that they were afraid of.

What I ended up with is one of those 1950's silver tinsel trees with the light wheel underneath. For decorations, I bought a couple $9 multipacks of the plastic ornaments that look like my (mostly broken) vintage ones.

So far, none of my birds has gone anywhere near the new tree and everyone who sees it "oohs & ahhs" over the nostalgic look. I guess we'll be having a 50's Christmas from here on out. :rolleyes:

#46695 - 12/14/04 06:39 AM Re: toos & Xmas trees  
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Michael Offline
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Marv,

A GFCI protected outlet does provide an extra level of protect. You're correct that it will only protect against ground faults. However that is what is most likely to kill the bird. It is the current that passes through the bird's body (and thus the heart) that will kill a bird or any animal including people.

Depending on what the animal is standing on, the current will either pass through the beak from one wire to the next. This is not a ground fault and thus will not cause the GFCI to trip. However it is not as likely to stop the heart. Ever heard of the one hand rule (keep one hand in your pocket while working on a live circuit)? This will still give an electric shock but you can still survive if the current passes from one finger to another on the same hand (or from the top beak to the lower beak). I know this from first hand experience. I've been shock a few to many times.

If on the other hand (no pun intended) the current were to pass from the hand to ground through another part of your body then a ground fault would occur and the GFCI should trip.

This by no means guaranties that getting shocked will not kill you or an animal but it provides an extra level of protection.

Another thing to consider is using a set of light with low voltage bulbs. These are the light sets with the smaller bulbs. Typically it is the type, were the entire string (or a group of lights) goes out when one bulb is removed. This type of lights divides the voltage between all the lights in that group. For example if the group consists of 10 lights the voltage at any individual light is between 10 and 12 volts (RMS). Not nearly enough to cause harm. This does not protect the bird if they are chewing at the base of the string of light. But like the GFCI is provides and added level of protect.

The idea is to provide as many levels of protect as you can. Each level reduces the potential of harm.

#46696 - 12/14/04 09:51 AM Re: toos & Xmas trees  
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Just to share a recent experience:

About a month ago, my Too bit a lamp wire when I left the room. He climbed off of his cage and walked across the room and bit. I hear a scream of horror coming from him and I went running.

He had smoke residue around his nares and close to his eyes. His beak smelled like burned wires. I absolutely panicked! I rushed him to my avian vet (on a Sunday--great doctor!), and luckily Max was okay. His eyes were okay, his nares were okay, his beak and mouth were okay. Thank the heaven's above! He COULD have been killed or severely injured! My vet stated that these accidents happen A LOT, and that Max was lucky.

Now? Now, that I've learned what CAN happen? There are NO wires available AT ALL. Rugs are placed over most wires, and any wire that is remotely close to a cage, is covered in PVC piping (no, it doesn't look pretty, but at least my flock is safe!)

Christmas trees and birds don't mix, unless the bird is caged at all times. Maybe you could put the tree and bird(s) in opposite rooms. You and your bird were lucky with the first few ate bulbs...PLEASE prevent any more accidents (as they do happen) and put the tree in a different room or get rid of the lights and wires. Also, if it's a real tree, you need to be careful that your bird doesn't eat a branch or pine needle, as many christmas trees have pectiside residue that can kill your bird!

Please, everyone be safe this holiday season! Here is a link for Holiday Bird Safety: Holiday Hazards

#46697 - 12/14/04 01:12 PM Re: toos & Xmas trees  
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Dan Savage Offline
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Quote:
Now, that I've learned what CAN happen?
Has your too been giving the wires wide berth since getting zapped? Did he learn anything?

#46698 - 12/14/04 01:16 PM Re: toos & Xmas trees  
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Marv Offline
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low volt lighting is a great idea Micheal i've been in the electical field for over 30 yrs and the number 1 killer for animals are 2 wire extenion cords like on X-mas trees low volt lighting still has a danger factor if chewed or frade it can still cause a fire -Marv

#46699 - 12/14/04 07:09 PM Re: toos & Xmas trees  
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Dan Savage: In one word, NO. He didn't learn anything from the zap. He's still interested in the "long skinny chew toys" around the house, which I have covered in PVC and/or hid with rugs, that are in HIS room.

I just don't see the point in "lowering the voltage" on Christmas Tree wires, when there's STILL a chance that a bird (any animal) could be killed or severly injured! If your bird(s) are interested in lights on a Christmas Tree, and venture to the tree...why risk a shock, when it's so easy for them to get hurt? Move the tree or kill the lights. It's really that simple.

My flock is far more important than a lighted (any) Christmas Tree. But, hey if the lighted tree means more to some people than the safety of their birds...

#46700 - 12/14/04 07:48 PM Re: toos & Xmas trees  
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My solution will just be that he won't be allowed outside playtime until I'm in the same room with him or carrying him around with me. It's just amazing the number of things people have written about on here (hazards) that one never even thinks of. Of course when one is talking about animals -any kind of animal- it's amazing the things they can get into. We walked into our 100 yr old barn one day and found a 5 month old filly that had somehow ended up on her back in a wooden feeder where we feed hay. She looked like she was laying in a tub. Had to call the volunteer fire department out to help us lift her out. How she did that we'll never know.

#46701 - 12/14/04 08:19 PM Re: toos & Xmas trees  
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Beth82,

Correct the safest thing is to simply not have lights on your tree. We can take as many precautions as possible and try to minimize the risk. However the only way to eliminate the risk completely is to eliminate the dangerous item completely.

#46702 - 12/15/04 07:01 AM Re: toos & Xmas trees  
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This is great!!

The other day I let TC out of his cage and left the room. I went back to see what he was doing and he wasn't on his cage. Then my tree moved and said, "hello". I looked towards the bottom and there he was, IN the tree. It was TOO cute!! He didn't care about the decorations and lights, but was more interested on biting the little branches.
We got the stick, he got on and we brought him out.

My husband wasn't thrilled, but I thought it was the cutest thing, looking into my tree to see TC with all his glorious plummage looking out at me.

lol

#46703 - 12/15/04 09:23 AM Re: toos & Xmas trees  
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Dan Savage Offline
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Quote:
Beth82: In one word, NO. He didn't learn anything from the zap. He's still interested in the "long skinny chew toys" around the house, which I have covered in PVC and/or hid with rugs, that are in HIS room.
That's good to know. I'm glad he's okay. Thanks.

Dan

#46704 - 12/15/04 11:59 AM Re: toos & Xmas trees  
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Beth82 Offline
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Thanks, Michael.

Quote:
Thunderchicken : He didn't care about the decorations and lights, but was more interested on biting the little branches.
From the "Holiday Hazards" link above in my previous post:

Quote:
The Tree -There are several factors to consider with the tree. The trunk of a live tree is often coated with chemicals, such as fertilizer or insecticide. When the tree is placed in the stand and watered, the chemicals from the trunk contaminate the water. If your bird, dog or cat drinks it, they may become sick. The needles begin to fall out as the tree ages and dries. The needles are not poisonous but are very sharp, can puncture the skin and produce abscesses. If your pet tries to eat them, the needles can cut the tongue, lips and gums . If swallowed they are relatively undigestible and can actually pierce the lining of the stomach and intestines or cause a blockage.
Though, this may be incorrect, I'd be afraid that even though there are chemicals "at the base of the tree", that chemicals might be found ALL over the tree, that your Too may ingest.

No offense, TC. You stated that you've had your Too for only a month. I just wanted to point out all of the dangers of Xmas trees.

#46705 - 12/15/04 10:39 PM Re: toos & Xmas trees  
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Ouch! Fortunatly, we're not putting up a tree this year due to all the havoc with the baby and all.

#46706 - 12/20/04 04:56 AM Re: toos & Xmas trees  
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Wow...Thanks, all. Food for thought. Barney's never moved toward our (fake) X-mas tree nor any cords, but who wants to risk a first time? Good suggestions on protective/preventative measures.

#46707 - 12/20/04 10:58 PM Re: toos & Xmas trees  
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Also, Cell phone chargers. The wires look pretty attractive to birdies. Gucci almost got electrocuted.

#46708 - 12/21/04 03:50 PM Re: toos & Xmas trees  
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I havenít put up a Christmas tree in a years because I am too afraid that one of my birds will take a liken to it. I guess I am very lucky as I no longer have younger kids or older kids living at home anymore. The thought of having one of my birds biting a cord scares me to death and they are way too curious for their own good. I find it easier to remove the temptation.

Years ago when Jessa was about 2 years old she ventured off the side of her cage and was able to get a hold of the cord that went to the humidifier, I seen a puff of smoke, she did a cockatoo bark and ran to her cage. I am very lucky that she was alright and just the humidifier was dead. I opted to take no chances when it comes to the safety of my birds.


The woods would be very silent if no birds sang except those that sang best.
Henry Van Dyke
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